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Sources of Biomass Materials

written by: Haresh Khemani•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 9/4/2008

Biomass materials can be obtained from a number of sources. All the wasted plants materials, wood, garbage, wasted paper etc are the sources of biomass materials. The energy obtained from biomass is called as biomass energy.

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    Biomass Materials

    The organic matter within the plants, the agriculture crops, and material related with the plants directly or indirectly are called as the biomass. The plants absorb energy from the sun by a process called photosynthesis; hence the energy stored within the biomass is the solar energy. When biomass is burnt lot of heat is produced which can be used for various purposes. The biomass can also be converted into fuels like ethanol and biodiesel that can be used as the fuels for the vehicles. Methane produced from the biomass is the major component of natural gas which is being used extensively as the alternate fuel for the vehicles.

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    Sources of Biomass

    Here are various biomass sources, which are a great source of energy that can be used for various applications:

    1) Wood and waste wood: Wood is the most commonly used type of biomass. Since the earliest days the fuel being used for cooking and heating is the wood. Even at present wood as the biomass material is major source of energy in a number of developing countries.

    Wood as a biomass can be used in various forms like large wooden blocks obtained from the trees, wooden chips, and saw dust. The wasted wood and wooden scrap are also the source of biomass.

    2) Leaves of the plants: In the densely planted places lots of leaves fall from the trees. These can be dried, powdered and converted into small pieces, which can be used as the biomass fuel to generate heat used usually for cooking food.

    3) Broken branches and twigs of the trees: No part of the plant goes wasted when it leaves the main body of the tree. Large and small branches and even all the small twigs are the source of biomass energy.

    4) Agricultural waste: Lots of waste materials obtained from the farms are a great source of biomass materials. Livestock waste can also be used to generate methane gas.

    5) Waste paper: Tons of waste paper is produced every day. These can be burnt to produce lots of heat. The paper is manufactured from the plants, so it is considered to be biomass material.

    6) Garbage: The garbage, also called as municipal solid waste is another source of biomass. The garbage can be in the form of food scrap, lawn clippings, waste paper, fallen leaves etc all mixed together or collected individually.

    7) Human waste: The human wastes are also considered to the source of biomass. These can used to generate methane gas which is the major component of natural gas.

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    Biomass Sources (Source: Energy Kid's Page)

    Biomass Sources